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Turf Alternative Plot

Gardeners hoping for sustainable ground covers will learn about nine different kinds of ground covers/grasses that take little water or mowing and are disease resistant and amenable to foot traffic. And they look good, too.

July 2011

The ground covers are planted in 3 different blocks, which are on three different irrigation schedules. Many of these grasses may be mowed to resemble lawn or left unmown for easy care. Five of these lawn replacements are native to California and four are chosen from other Mediterranean climate regions. All provide attractive alternatives to a conventional lawn. Fall is the best time to plant these new ground covers. 

Click on the links below for more ideas:

UC Center for Landscape and Urban Horticulture


UC Verde Buffalograss information


UC Cooperative Extension Presentation on “Alternative Turf Species for Reducing Water Use and Mowing” Includes study of UC Verde Buffalo grass


Water Conservation Tips for the Home Lawn and Garden


Grass Removal Methods


Waterwise Landscaping Plants for SLO County
The Encyclopedia of Grasses for Livable Landscapes by Rick Darke
Reimagining the California Lawn:  Water-conserving Plants, Practices and Designs by Carol Bornstein, David Fross and Bart O'Brien

Here's what the garden looked like in the past:

April 2011:

April 2011

August 2011:

August 2011

May 2016:

May 2016

September 2017: